Brandon Brown

Four Cup teams docked practice in Miami

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The Cup cars of Chase Elliott, William Byron, Matt DiBenedetto and Joe Nemechek each will miss 15 minutes of Friday’s opening Cup practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway for failing inspection twice last weekend at ISM Raceway, NASCAR announced.

First Cup practice is scheduled from 3:35 – 4:25 p.m. ET today on NBCSN.

In the Xfinity Series, the cars of Ryan Sieg, Bobby Earnhardt and Brandon Brown will each miss 15 minutes of opening practice for being late to inspection previously.

Xfinity opening practice is scheduled from 2:35 – 3:25 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Christopher Bell wins Xfinity playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway

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Christopher Bell won Saturday night’s Xfinity Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway and locked himself into the championship race in Miami.

Bell swept every stage of the race and claimed his series-leading eighth victory of the year, topping his total from his rookie season.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver led 101 of 200 laps and beat Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones and John Hunter Nemechek.

A native of Oklahoma, Texas Motor Speedway is Bell’s home track.

“That was pretty special to win here at Texas,” Bell told NBCSN. “I got a lot of family over there in the background. This (checkered flag) is for my nephew. I promised him years ago that if I ever won I’d give him the flag at Texas. … I knew we were competitive. Us and (Tyler Reddick) were really similar early on. Then I started having brake problems. Whenever I got those brake problems I just wasn’t as good. I could keep the car underneath me, I got really loose. Had to work a little bit harder.”

Bell has 16 wins through 72 Xfinity starts, which is tied for the most with Sam Ard and Jack Ingram.

This is the fourth time this year Bell has swept every stage of the race and won. He’s the only driver to do it.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Christopher Bell

STAGE 2 WINNER: Christopher Bell

More: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Cindric has finished in the top three in four of the five playoff races and has top-10 finishes in three of four Texas starts … John Hunter Nemechek has top-10 finishes in five of the last six races, including the last four … Justin Allgaier finished sixth. He has top-10 finishes in the last 15 races, the longest streak of his career.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Playoff driver Noah Gragson finished 30th after contact with Harrison Burton with 50 laps to go sent him through the infield grass and damaged his No. 9 Chevrolet. It is his first DNF of the year … A few laps into the ensuing green flag run, Tyler Reddick wrecked on the backstretch while racing with Chase Briscoe and Brandon Jones. He finished 29th … Briscoe finished 22nd after he had a late pit stop for a right-front tire problem … Bobby Earnhardt brought out the first caution on Lap 19 when he spun and experienced a hard wreck in Turn 2. He finished 37th … On Lap 60 Brandon Brown wrecked after a spin in Turn 2 … With 11 laps left in Stage 2, David Starr wrecked after making contact with Stefan Parsons and plowing through the infield grass. He finished 33rd … Justin Haley finished 32nd due to a mechanical failure on his backup car.

WHAT’S NEXT: Desert Diamond West Valley Casino 200 at ISM Raceway at 3:30 p.m. ET Nov. 9 on NBC

 

Cole Custer earns 7th win of season, now it’s on to Xfinity 2nd round

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His car may carry the number 00, but Cole Custer was No. 1 Saturday, winning the final race of the first round of the Xfinity playoffs at Dover International Speedway, propelling him and seven other drivers into the Round of 8, which begins in two weeks at Kansas.

It was Custer’s seventh win of the season, tying him with Christopher Bell for most wins in the 2019 Xfinity Season. Custer led 31 laps in his 100th career start in the Xfinity Series. It was also the ninth career Xfinity Series win for the 21-year-old Custer.

“I’ve wanted to win here so bad for so long,” Custer told NBCSN. “I’ve been close a number of times. To win the gold Monster (trophy) is just unbelievable. … I think it’s every driver’s favorite race track. Everybody wants the Monster. It’s such a cool race track. … It’s definitely one you want to cross off the box.”

Justin Allgaier finished second, followed by Austin Cindric, Justin Haley and Chase Briscoe. Sixth through 10th were Michael Annett, Noah Gragson, John Hunter Nemechek, Zane Smith and Ryan Sieg.

The eight drivers that move on to the second round of the playoffs are: Christopher Bell, Briscoe, Custer, Cindric, Allgaier, Tyler Reddick, Gragson and Annett. The first seven drivers were locked into the playoffs either coming into the race or during the race, except for Annett, who had to race his way into the second round with a strong performance late in the race, holding off Haley and Nemechek and keeping both of them from advancing.

“I was trying to do my high school math out there and I think I needed to beat the 23 (Nemechek) by eight (points) in that last segment, so our strategy helped,” Annett told NBCSN. :I just wanted to hang tough and bring it home and that’s what these guys deserved. This is my best playoff run since we’ve started these playoffs so I’m looking forward to it as we have a lot of good tracks ahead of us.”

The four drivers that were eliminated from advancing in the playoffs were Brandon Jones, Nemechek, Sieg and Haley.

Even though he’s assured of moving on to Round 2, it was an uncharacteristically bad day for points leader Christopher Bell, who had to pit during Stage 1 to replace a carburetor, dropping him 14 laps behind the leaders. Bell returned to the race and finished 25th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier 

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier (seventh stage win of season; second time he’s swept both stages in a race this season – also did it at Bristol in spring).

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Cole Custer is one of Xfinity’s so-called “Big 3” and showed why he is in that elite company Saturday. He may not have had the best car, but great pit strategy and staying out of trouble brought home the win and put him in second place in the reset points heading into Round 2 of the playoffs. … And don’t overlook Chase Briscoe’s rally from last for unapproved adjustments after a misfire in qualifying to first before finishing fifth. He led a race-high 71 laps before the misfire returned late in the event.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Brandon Jones’ hopes to advance to the second round of the Xfinity playoffs lasted just two turns before he was involved in a first lap wreck with Harrison Burton that left Jones’ car unable to be repaired. “I always try to find the positives with this kind of stuff, obviously none today,” Jones, who finished 37th, told NBSCN. … Jeremy Clements’ motor blew up on Lap 10, ending his day (finished 36th).

NOTABLE: Brandon Brown‘s 11th-place finish was his best finish since placing sixth at Daytona in July. Saturday’s finish marked the second time he’s placed better than 12th this year. 

WHAT’S NEXT: The Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway kicks off the Round of 8 second round of the Xfinity playoffs on Oct. 19 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Friday’s crash and spin report from Charlotte Roval

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CONCORD, N.C. — Here’s a look at the drivers who wrecked or spun Friday during Cup and Xfinity Series action on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Cup Practice

Both Parker Kligerman and Denny Hamlin will go to backup cars after wrecking. Kligerman hit the wall in Turn 1 early in the session.

Hamlin spun and backed into the Turn 5 tire barrier with about 29 minutes left in the session. He and Kligerman will have to start from the rear Sunday.

Hamlin said he got loose when he carried extra speed into the turn.

“It’s supposed to kind of be a weekend off (for his team),” Hamlin told NBCSN. “But obviously I put them behind the eight ball here and took away some track time for myself. Really stinks. But definitely feel like our backup car will be fine.”

Bubba Wallace spun in Turn 5 late in the session and lightly impacted the tire barrier. He won’t go to a backup car.

First Xfinity practice

Brandon Brown brought out the caution early in the session when he spun in Turn 1 after his track bar broke.

Noah Gragson will go to a backup car after he spun and hit the tire barrier in Turn 3 .

Cody Ware also wrecked in Turn 3 later in the session.

John Hunter Nemechek missed the frontstretch chicane late in the session.

Final Xfinity Practice

Preston Pardus wrecked about 15 minutes into the session when he spun and hit the Turn 5 tire barrier.

Michael Annett wrecked in Turn 5, causing significant front end damage to his No. 1 Chevrolet. He will go to a backup car.

Cup qualifying

Chase Elliott spun in the frontstretch chicane as he was finishing his first qualifying lap in Round 1. He later qualified 19th.

In the second round, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson wheel hopped entering the backstretch chicane in the second round. Bowyer went on to qualify fifth, Larson qualified seventh.

Xfinity Series practice report from Charlotte Roval

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CONCORD, N.C. — AJ Allmendinger was the fastest in the final practice session for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Allmendinger posted a top speed of 99.502 mph around road course.

The top five was completed by Chase Briscoe (98.995 mph), Cole Custer (98.957), Tyler Reddick (98.921) and Christopher Bell (98.823).

Both Preston Pardus and Michael Annett had single-car wrecks in Turn 5 during the session. Annett suffered front-end damage and will go to a backup car.

Click here for the practice report.

First Practice

Bell was fastest in the first practice session.

Bell posted a top speed of 98.853 mph around the circuit.

The top five was completed by Austin Cindric (98.798 mph), Allmendinger (98.758), Garrett Smithley (98.756) and Briscoe (98.475).

Brandon Jones and Harrison Burton recorded the most laps in the session with 27 each.

Brandon Brown brought out the caution early in the session when he spun in Turn 1 after his track bar broke.

Noah Gragson will go to a backup car after he spun and hit the tire barrier in Turn 3 .

Cody Ware also wrecked in Turn 3 later in the session.

John Hunter Nemechek missed the frontstretch chicane late in the session.

Smithley brought out the red flag with 11 minutes left in the session when he suffered a mechanical issue.

Click here for the practice report.